(JTA) — Areas near Gaza were in highest demand by prospective homeowners who participated in surveys of housing preferences in Israel.
In one survey conducted at a housing fair last month, a total of 98 families indicated they would like to move to one of two districts, Eshkol and Shaar HaNegev, that are adjacent to the Gaza Strip and are routinely targeted by Hamas rockets.
The next most desired are was the Eilat region, followed by Beersheba.
The survey of 315 families was conducted at a fair held last month by the Ministry for the Development of the Negev and Galilee in Tel Aviv, which drew 3,000 visitors.
Of those who preferred to move to the targeted regions, 56 indicated they would like to live in Sderot, Ofakim or Netivot, towns which have absorbed thousands of rockets fired from Gaza over the past few years.
During Israel’s war with Hamas last summer, countless rockets and mortar rounds were fired at population centers near the Gaza Strip, with some landing in the Tel Aviv region.
In a separate survey about housing preferences in northern Israel, the Golan Heights emerged as most popular area, with 140 families out of 514 indicating it as their first choice.
Though Israel regards it as its own territory, the Golan Heights are internationally considered occupied territory that Israel took from Syria in 1967.
Real estate in the Galilee and Golan areas of northern Israel, and the Negev region in the south, are considerably cheaper than property in Israel’s crowded center.
“Some families want to move to these places to improve their quality of living,” Sigal Shaltiel Halevi, director of the Ministry for the Development of the Negev and Galilee, told the news site news.walla.co.il. “But there are also ideological considerations, leading people to settle in areas which are important to the State of Israel,” she added.